Nappy Roots Out To Show They're Not Just Country Boys

No barns, tractors in new video for world-traveling hip-hop group.

Nappy Roots don't just say it, they live it. The first single from their second major-label LP, Wooden Leather, is called "Round the Globe," and in June that's exactly where they're going.

The six-man clan is going to perform for troops stationed in Kuwait. "We've been around the country, we went to London and Germany, but this right here is going to the Middle East," Nappy member Skinny DeVille said Friday (May 30).

"That's crazy 'cause that's taking a chance, but we heard the troops wanted us over there. They wanted to see a concert and had a list of people they wanted to get over there. We were at the top of the list. It will be an honor for us to go over there and perform for them. This for me is the chance of a lifetime."

With last year's Watermelon, Chicken & Gritz the group capitalized on its first chance of a lifetime and hit a home run out of the gate. They said they felt less pressure while recording their second album for Atlantic than they did on the first, but more importantly they hope this album will help them avoid being pigeonholed as country boys.

"It's going to be different," DeVille said of the video for "Round the Globe," for which they're still securing a director. On the song they sing that "the whole world is country" and talk about how Kentucky is similar to just about everywhere they've traveled.

"It's not going to be country, how people think it will be," DeVille finished. "We're looking for something different that's not going to paint us into a creative corner. Some people think Kentucky and Nappy Roots [means the video] has to have a damn barn and tractors, we gotta be broke, hollering 'Po' Folks.' It's still going to be us and it's going to have some elements of the country, but we're looking at it on a global thing and we're representing [everybody]."

On Wooden Leather, the guys worked with such people as David Banner, Raphael Saadiq and "Po' Folks" guest star Anthony Hamilton. A couple of tracks soon to hit the streets will give fans a different look at the group. The bouncy "Twang" is an anthem Nappy Roots think strip clubs will love, and "Dog n Hogs" finds them representing one of their loves.

"It's a tribute to the car," DeVille explained. "It shows appreciation for automobiles. The dogs is the [Cadillac], something for them 'Lac lovers. Escalades, the DeVilles the Fleetwoods. The 'hogs' is the trucks. [The song] is almost like a 'My Ride' from the last album, but slowed down."

Wooden Leather is slated to drop in late August or early September, and in early 2004 the guys want to put out a DVD and accompanying soundtrack.

"The last DVD was pretty much us on the road, clowning and joking," DeVille said. "Imagine if we took that long-form video seriously and really put some ideas into it. So we came up with an idea, we got a 35- to 40-minute movie called 'Half the Truth.' It's pretty much the story of Nappy Roots and how we all hooked up. It's kinda like a comedy."

The DVD will also show the making of Wooden Leather and behind-the-scenes footage of the guys in their everyday lives.